Interesting article here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7382415.stm on the BBC website about Nestlé getting into hot water in Azerbaijan. Apparently they gave away a CD with information about countries which stated that Azerbaijan had started the war with Armenia. Not according to the Azerbaijani.
Feelings between the two countries are still brittle, as I experienced first-hand while giving training to a group in which both countries were represented a couple of years back.
I don’t envy corporations having to come up with advertising campaigns, logos and products that are culturally-sensitive. It is hard enough not to get it wrong in your own country, as some recent stories about logos that have had unintended consequences have shown in the UK.
But when other cultures are involved you can literally step into a minefield of words which mean something rude in another country, numbers that are unlucky, colours that signify different things from in your own culture. Definitely, a good rule of thumb though, wherever you are, is “Don’t mention the war!”
My favourite slogan story is probably not even true, but if not, it is so good it ought to be.
The tale goes that Electrolux launched a new machine in the USA with the slogan “The vacuum cleaner that really sucks…” – Now that, with our love of irony, could actually work quite well in the UK!